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The onset of allergy symptoms during Spring can have you desperate to find a way to relieve symptoms, and guard your wellbeing against them. Seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis, have an extensive list of natural treatments, but how do you know if they work?
According to Dr Sezelle Gereau-Haddon, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Beth Israel Medical Centre’s Continuum Centre for Health and Healing in the Integrative Medicine Department, ‘Sometimes patients come in with wacky things — they get all kinds of things from the internet. But if they feel better, who knows if it’s the placebo versus a real cure? If the things that they’re on are things that aren’t potentially harmful to their liver or their kidneys or their stomach, I usually tolerate it.’
Dr Gereau-Haddon continues, ‘For example, patients routinely want to eliminate dairy. There’s not any clear evidence that eliminating dairy does anything for allergies or sinusitis complaints. But, empirically, when I see patients do it, some patients feel better. If a patient wants to try it, I certainly encourage them to try it.’ She adds, ‘Even patients who don’t have a known celiac disease or sensitivity to wheat specifically or a wheat allergy, sometimes if they eliminate gluten, you’ll see them land in a better place.’
Dr Roberta Lee, Integrative health practitioner at Beth Israel Medical Centre’s Continuum Centre for Health and Healing, comments that foods can definitely impact your response to an allergen, noting that you may have a harder time fighting off allergies ‘If you have saturated fats in your diet, if you’re a steak eater, if you’re a junk food eater, if you’re a fried food eater, if you’re a high cheese eater.’ This is because your body isn’t getting the vitamins it needs to stay healthy and allergy free, and junk foods also cause inflammation in your nose and throat.
If you want a natural remedy to eliminate your allergy symptoms, Richard Mandelbaum, clinical herbalist of the ArborVitae School of Traditional Herbalism, recommends taking stinging nettles, whether in capsule form, as a tincture or in its completely unprocessed form. ‘Nettles have some natural antihistamine activity and can be very helpful in reducing the severity of the symptoms that one is experiencing,’ he says.